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Where Is Our Caesar?

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In 1923, Spengler wrote "The Decline Of The West" in which, taking his model from Rome, he posited that democracy was only a temporary stage at the end of a civilisation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Decline_of_the_West

Spengler asserts that democracy is simply the political weapon of money, and the media is the means through which money operates a democratic political system. The thorough penetration of money's power throughout a society is yet another marker of the shift from Culture to Civilization.

Democracy and plutocracy are equivalent in Spengler's argument. The "tragic comedy of the world-improvers and freedom-teachers" is that they are simply assisting money to be more effective. The principles of equality, natural rights, universal suffrage, and freedom of the press are all disguises for class war (the bourgeois against the aristocracy). Freedom, to Spengler, is a negative concept, simply entailing the repudiation of any tradition. In reality, freedom of the press requires money, and entails ownership, thus serving money at the end. Suffrage involves electioneering, in which the donations rule the day. The ideologies espoused by candidates, whether Socialism or Liberalism, are set in motion by, and ultimately serve, only money. "Free" press does not spread free opinion—it generates opinion, Spengler maintains.

Spengler admits that in his era money has already won, in the form of democracy. But in destroying the old elements of the Culture, it prepares the way for the rise of a new and overpowering figure: the Caesar. Before such a leader, money collapses, and in the Imperial Age the politics of money fades away.

Spengler's analysis of democratic systems argues that even the use of one's own constitutional rights requires money, and that voting can only really work as designed in the absence of organized leadership working on the election process. As soon as the election process becomes organized by political leaders, to the extent that money allows, the vote ceases to be truly significant. It is no more than a recorded opinion of the masses on the organizations of government over which they possess no positive influence whatsoever.

Spengler notes that the greater the concentration of wealth in individuals, the more the fight for political power revolved around questions of money. One cannot even call this corruption or degeneracy, because this is in fact the necessary end of mature democratic systems.

On the subject of the press, Spengler is equally as contemptuous. Instead of conversations between men, the press and the "electrical news-service keep the waking-consciousness of whole people and continents under a deafening drum-fire of theses, catchwords, standpoints, scenes, feelings, day by day and year by year." Through the media, money is turned into force—the more spent, the more intense its influence.

For the press to function, universal education is necessary. Along with schooling comes a demand for the shepherding of the masses, as an object of party politics. Those that originally believed education to be solely for the enlightenment of each individual prepared the way for the power of the press, and eventually for the rise of the Caesar. There is no longer a need for leaders to impose military service, because the press will stir the public into a frenzy, clamor for weapons, and force their leaders into a conflict.

The only force which can counter money, in Spengler's estimation, is blood. As for Marx, his critique of capitalism is put forth in the same language and on the same assumptions as those of Adam Smith. His protest is more a recognition of capitalism's veracity, than a refutation. The only aim is to "confer upon objects the advantage of being subjects."

It seems clear to me that western democracy is on its last legs, with more and more people disengaging from the election process. But as yet, no credible Caesar figure has emerged.

Can anyone see where this Caesar might come from?

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Ceasar's political career was funded by debt. He started out very short of funds. Julius Ceasar non potus por urinatir in habia, as Cicero put it.

His rise to power was bank rolled by the well heeled by charisma-lacking Crassus. One of Crassus' money making schemes was a fire brigade that would only put out a fire if the owner sold the property to Crassus on very advantageous terms. Makes our BTLs seem almost okay.

I suspect our Ceasar will be someone like Schwarzanegger with backing from someone like Rupert Murdoch. And remember, the Senate continued right through the Empire until the very end giving a veneer of democratic legitimacy to the tyrants. I don't think that we will wake up one day to be told that democracy is over, even if that is in fact the reality.

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Guest Parry aka GOD
Oswald Spengler? Wasn't he a Ghostbuster?

Yeah that's what I was thinking.

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In 1923, Spengler wrote "The Decline Of The West" in which, taking his model from Rome, he posited that democracy was only a temporary stage at the end of a civilisation:

The book studies several different Culture-Civilisations, not only European. At least 5 I think.

There is a book regarded as the sequel to Spengler's Decline called Imperium by Ulick Varange (Francis Yockey).

A fascinating read but not Politically Correct.

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The book studies several different Culture-Civilisations, not only European. At least 5 I think.

There is a book regarded as the sequel to Spengler's Decline called Imperium by Ulick Varange (Francis Yockey).

A fascinating read but not Politically Correct.

Yeah - Spengler saw that every civilisation of the past followed pretty much the same pattern, and it was a pattern that the West was following quite closely. Some of his predictions (e.g. that art would become meaningless and influenced by fashion, that irreligiousness and skepticism would spread) are unnervingly accurate.

According to him, the collapse of democracy and the emergence of an autocrat would be inevitable. I can think of some people who might emerge in the US, but haven't seen anyone in the UK of any kind of equivalence.

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Good Lord. If government of self-determination is not the answer, then what is? Anarchy? Plutocracy?

Spreading out power to the greatest practical extent is the best outcome.

In 1923, Spengler wrote "The Decline Of The West" in which, taking his model from Rome, he posited that democracy was only a temporary stage at the end of a civilisation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Decline_of_the_West

It seems clear to me that western democracy is on its last legs, with more and more people disengaging from the election process. But as yet, no credible Caesar figure has emerged.

Can anyone see where this Caesar might come from?

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Yeah that's what I was thinking.

Oh no that was Egon Spengler.

Excerpt from Ghostbusters transcript:

JANINE (with a definitive Queens accent) You're very handy, I can tell. I bet you like to read a lot, too.

SPENGLER (looks up) Print is dead.

JANINE That's very fascinating to me. I read a lot myself. Some people think I'm too intellectual. But I think reading is a fabulous way to spend your spare time.

(he doesn't answer)

I also play racketball. Do you ever play?

SPENGLER Is that a game?

JANINE It's a great game! You should play sometime. I bet you'd be good. You seem very athletic. Do you have any hobbies?

SPENGLER I collect spores, molds and fungus.

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Good Lord. If government of self-determination is not the answer, then what is? Anarchy? Plutocracy?

Spreading out power to the greatest practical extent is the best outcome.

Yes, but Spengler doesn't give us any option. His model states that democracy is followed by Caesarism, which eventually breaks down into a dark age of warlordism.

So for him civilisation is an organism of itself that has a defined birth, life and death.

I'm just using this thread as a thought experiment. If his model is correct, and we're at the democracy stage, and the Caesar is inevitable, can we spot him/her at the present moment?

If not where are they going to come from? Historically it is from the Army. Here in the UK, although the Caesar figure is not yet visible, I would suggest that the conditions might be being prepared - there's a lot more military fetishism than there used to be (Wootton Bassett for example).

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More pertintently (but only slightly more) to the thread:

STANTZ

(intense)

Look at the structure of the roof cap. It looks exactly like the kind of telemetry tracker NASA uses to identify dead pulsars

in other galaxies.

SPENGLER

And look at this, Peter (indicates another diagram) Cold-riveted girders with selenium cores.

Venkman leans in to look but suddenly notices that they have an audience.

THE CELL

The Ghostbusters are surrounded by a motley assortment of BUMS, PUNKS,HOODS and a particularly mean-looking gang of BIKERS, all listening intently to their discussion.

VENKMAN

(to their cellmates)

Everybody with us so far?

The other prisoners mutter and scratch their heads, then drift off.

STANTZ

(back to his point)

The ironwork extends down through fifty feet of bedrock and touches the water table!

He looks at Venkman who doesn't see the significance.

VENKMAN

(shrugs)

I guess they don't build them like they used to, huh?

STANTZ

No! Nobody ever built them like this! The architect was either an authentic whacko or a certified genius. The whole building is like a huge antenna for pulling in and concentrating psychokinetic energy.

VENKMAN

Who was the architect?

STANTZ

He's listed on the blueprints as I. Shandor.

SPENGLER

(exclaims)

Of course!

(the others turn and look at him) Ivo Shandor, I saw his name in Tobin's SPIRIT GUIDE. He started a secret society in 1920.

VENKMAN

(putting it all together)

Let me guess -- Gozer Worshippers.

SPENGLER

Yes. After the First World War Shandor decided that society was too sick to survive. And he wasn't alone. He had close to a thousand followers when he died. They conducted rituals, bizarre rituals up on the roof intended to bring about the end of the world.

VENKMAN

(now very worried about

Dana)

She said he was "the Destructor."

SPENGLER

Who?

VENKMAN

Gozer.

SPENGLER

(confused)

You talked to Gozer?

VENKMAN

Get a grip on yourself, Egon. I talked to Dana Barrett and she referred to Gozer as the Destructor.

STANTZ

(proud)

See? I told you something big was about to happen.

Winston has heard enough.

WINSTON

This is insane! You actually believe that some moldy Babylonian God is going to drop in at 78th and Central Park West and start tearing up the city?

SPENGLER

(corrects him)

Sumarian -- not Babylonian,

london11.jpg

Edited by Dave Spart

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According to him, the collapse of democracy and the emergence of an autocrat would be inevitable. I can think of some people who might emerge in the US, but haven't seen anyone in the UK of any kind of equivalence.

Really? I thought NULabour are angling in this direction quite nicely..just because they aren't very good at it doesn't mean that's not the cut of their collective jibs. Also what about the EU? Its all heading in the same direction, its just not right in your face yet.

Edited to add: l think l mean collective autocrat. This is the communication age, we dont need a single figure anymore (Ceasar). As many bodies can operate as a single borg like Autocrat aided by today's comms technology

Edited by DabHand

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Really? I thought NULabour are angling in this direction quite nicely..just because they aren't very good at it doesn't mean that's not the cut of their collective jibs. Also what about the EU? Its all heading in the same direction, its just not right in your face yet.

So is Mandy your Caesar?

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l think l mean collective autocrat. This is the communication age, we dont need a single figure anymore (Ceasar). As many bodies can operate as a single borg like Autocrat aided by today's comms technology

Technically that might be true, but Spengler's model states that the Caesar stands against the power of money - this is why the populace choose him over democracy.

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Guest happy?
More pertintently (but only slightly more) to the thread:

WINSTON

This is insane! You actually believe that some moldy Babylonian God is going to drop in at 78th and Central Park West and start tearing up the city?

SPENGLER

(corrects him)

Sumarian -- not Babylonian,

I ain't afraid of no goats

goats.jpg

post-8753-1249846284_thumb.jpg

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I think that Boris Johnson fancies himself as a Caesar, waiting in the wings. Maybe he's right - when you look at how Churchill was thought of before the war, it's not too different. Except Boris hasn't messed up any major military campaigns yet.

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Guest happy?
I think that Boris Johnson fancies himself as a Caesar, waiting in the wings. Maybe he's right - when you look at how Churchill was thought of before the war, it's not too different. Except Boris hasn't messed up any major military campaigns yet.

There is a subtle difference between Churchill and Boris Johnson - one was a political colossus who strode the world-stage; whereas Boris is a political clown who will be forgotten within the decade.

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There is a subtle difference between Churchill and Boris Johnson - one was a political colossus who strode the world-stage; whereas Boris is a political clown who will be forgotten within the decade.

I think you underestimate the man. Ancient Rome wanted a colossus who could stride on the world stage. What might England (assuming full devolution) want? I think a clever buffoon could hit the target one day.

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I think you underestimate the man. Ancient Rome wanted a colossus who could stride on the world stage. What might England (assuming full devolution) want? I think a clever buffoon could hit the target one day.

I warned you what would happen if you opened the cider too soon.

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Technically that might be true, but Spengler's model states that the Caesar stands against the power of money - this is why the populace choose him over democracy.

OK, does this populist revulsion against money, and where its power has led us, seem yet to happen before we get our Ceasar? Maybe soon but not quite yet?

I'm an ignoramus regarding Roman history, but l can't quite level the whole anti-money stance by Ceasar and his populairty with the middle classes. Was it because the system was captured by the real elite?

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Isn't Spengler still tainted by his association with Nazism? Wasn't his work used (like Nietzsche's) to give a spurious intellectual underpinning to Nazi ideology? Doubtless someone out there knows more than I do about this area, but Nietzsche seems to have been subsequently exhonorated to a degree that Spengler hasn't.

"Spengler entertained a great man theory of history. Mustering his understanding of civilizations and cultural development he voted for Hitler in 1932 - despite Nazi derisions for those they called "reactionaries." Spengler was about as reactionary as one could get. But the Nazis had their contradictions, and their own view of spirit, will, and a glorious past, and they liked his attack on democracy, liberalism and his description of German socialism that was different from Marxist socialism. Spengler saw democracy as "decadent." He looked with approval upon the spirit of "Prussianism. He believed that war was to life. He praised a "kind of commanding that makes obedience a proud, free and noble habit."

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Such men usually end causing the deaths of vast numbers of people.

People like that Mr Hitler, responsible for the death of 60 Million human beings, and europe will never be the same again.

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OK, does this populist revulsion against money, and where its power has led us, seem yet to happen before we get our Ceasar? Maybe soon but not quite yet?

I'm an ignoramus regarding Roman history, but l can't quite level the whole anti-money stance by Ceasar and his populairty with the middle classes. Was it because the system was captured by the real elite?

Julius Caesar wanted to write off people's debts. Lots of people had got themselves into

masses of debt and unsurprisingly supported him in this matter.

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